Rick Steves is the renowned author of thirty European travel guides including Europe Through the Back Door, and the host of the PBS series Rick Steve?s Europe. He is a pioneer in promoting culturally sensitive, life-enriching travel and has taught a lot of travelers that taking the ?back door? and getting to know people wherever you go is the way to get the most from every traveler dollar. Smart European travel has been Rick Steves? dedication and has taught exactly that for thirty years.
Italy is one of the best places to be for travel and vacation, a combination of great art, amazing places, interesting culture, delicious cuisines, and superlative wines. Rick Steves considers Italy one of his favorite countries, from Rome to Riviera villages, from gawking at Michelangelo?s David to savoring its delightful cuisines. Rick Steves Italy travel tips will help you make the most of your Italian journey and help you understand that traveling smart and enjoying Italy on a budget just takes a bit of planning and willingness to go local. Here are some basics of Rick Steves Italy travel tips:
Rick Steves Italy Travel Tips #1 ? When to Go
The best travel months for Italy are May, June, September, and October. The months of April and November have a pleasant weather and usually none of the stress and sweat of tourist season. During off-season, anticipate shorter hours, fewer activities, and more lunchtime breaks.
Rick Steves Italy Travel Tips #2 ? Language Barrier
A lot of Italy?s larger towns and those in the tourist trade speak at least some English, however using the Italian pleasantries will attain more smiles and results. Italian is the norm in smaller towns. Getting a phrasebook and practicing is advisable, as efforts to speak the language are highly appreciated by Italians.
Rick Steves Italy Tips #3 ? Italian Tourist Offices in the U.S.
Contacting the nearest Italian Tourist office before your trip will be very helpful. Describing your itinerary and requesting information will earn you the general packet, asking for specifics such as individual city maps, calendar of festivals, info on wine-tasting, and others, will get an impressive amount of help. They?re also a good source of sympathy if you have a specific problem.
Rick Steves Italy travel Tips #4 ? Tourist Information
The best first stop on your travel to each town is the tourist office. Italian tourist offices, like those in other countries, are about half as helpful but their information is twice as important. Be prepared to ask a list of your questions and double check. Italian offices opening hours may vary from month to month so be sure to get the current listing of sights and their hours. Call the office ahead to ask your questions if you?re arriving late. Avoid travel and booking agencies that pretend to be tourist offices as they will serve fancy hotels and tour companies and you?ll end up being sold what you don?t need. Tourist offices will be eager to book you a room but use that as a last resort, use a good guidebook instead to find lodging?s that?s friendly, clean, affordable, and central.
Rick Steves Italy Travel Tips #5 ? By Car or Train
The affordability of Italy?s trains and buses is advisable for touring Italy. City to city travel is easier, cheaper, and faster by train than by car and it gives you the convenience and economy of doing long stretches overnight. Cars can be fun in rural areas if you want to explore hill towns, and especially important for heavy packers, as they can carry your luggage for you, generally door to door.
Rick Steves travel Tips #6 ? Sleeping and Eating
You can get a good deal on your hotel if you do the following: arrive direct and don?t use a middle man; offer to pay cash with at least three nights stay, or visit off-season; breakfasts are legally optional even though some hotels may insist they?re not; initial prices quoted often include breakfast and private bathroom; for a better price, offer to skip breakfast.
When it comes to eating, Italians are the masters of the art of fine living including lengthy, multi-course lunches and dinners, and endless hours sitting in outdoor caf?s. For Italians, the meal is an end itself and only rude waiters rush you, so if you?re in a hurry ask for the check when you receive the last ordered item.
Rick Steves Italy Travel Tips #7 ?Sightseeing
Don?t forget to include churches in your sightseeing as they usually offer amazing art and cool retreat from the heat. Dress codes should be well respected, no bare shoulder or shorts. Make reservations on popular sights whenever possible to avoid standing in lines.